BENGALURU: The Centre, which had floated a tender in December for 351 million syringes to administer the Covid vaccine, has now placed orders with three companies, at least one of which is expected to begin deliveries from the first week of April.
The Centre had earlier placed orders for 230 million syringes, taking the total number of syringes it will buy to more than 550 million. TOI first reported in December 2020 that the Centre was looking to issue tenders for 350 million syringes specifically to aid the vaccination drive.
Hindustan Syringes & Medical Devices Ltd (HMD), one of the largest manufacturers of disposable syringes in the world, will make 265 million auto-disable (AD) syringes which will be supplied till September this year. In its original bid to the December 2020 tender, HMD had offered to supply 220 million pieces. Iscon Surgicals, another Indian firm, will make more than 42.3 million syringes.
While HMD and Iscon were the only two firms to secure orders for the initial 230 million pieces, in this round, the Centre has also placed orders with American MNC Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD), which will manufacture nearly 44 million syringes at its India plant.
HMD managing director Rajiv Nath told TOI they will begin delivering syringes against fresh orders in April. Nath said: “This is in addition to our ongoing global commitments to support regular global vaccination projects for 0.1ml & 0.5ml AD Kojak syringes and the Covid vaccination requirements of 0.3ml for Pfizer’s vaccine or 0.5ml AD Kojak for Astra-Zeneca/ Serums or Bharat Biotech’s vaccines.”
He said the company’s priority is India, but it must also honour its global commitments. “So, for now we are allocating two thirds of our capacity to the government of India and the rest to our regular global UN clients,” he said. “We are happy to complement vaccine diplomacy with syringe diplomacy and raise the Brand India flag in more than 120 countries.”
Iscon vice-president Sandeep Bhandari said that against their original bid for 35.1 million syringes, the Centre has awarded them a contract of more than 42.3 million. “Aside from this, there is a good demand for syringes and needles from across the world and we recently got orders from the UK for 29 million syringes. We are working on some more contracts from Europe, South Korea and Brazil,” he said.